Nasu-Karasuyama is a small city surrounded by beautiful Japanese countryside 2 hours north of Tokyo.
It is mostly known for its ‘UNESCO World Heritage’ festival called the YAMAAGE Festival (click for the festival guide if you plan to visit), and is also full of things to do and see. Visitors enjoy cycling, making/buying Japanese Washi paper (wikipedia), visiting the Ryumon waterfall and the Shimazaki sake brewery (the CAVE brewery) that ages its IWC Trophy award-winning sake in a hand-dug cave.
The easiest way to visit Nasu-Karasuyama is by train. From JR Utsunomiya Station (50 min from Tokyo on the Tohoku & Yamagata Shinkansen ) take the JR Karasuyama Line and get off at Karasuyama Station (the last stop) or Taki Station (the station before that for the waterfall and cave).
If you are in Japan in late July and like lively festivals, you shouldn’t miss the Yamaage festival, but if you prefer to experience the peaceful Japanese countryside, then visiting in the spring and autumn seasons are also enjoyable.
From Tokyo to Katsuta Station.
With a history of 175 years, Shimazaki Sake Brewery (島崎酒造) is cool brewery to visit. Some call it the CAVE BREWERY as it has a cave where they mature their IWC Trophy sake. You can drop by the sake shop and on weekends visit the cave. You can also book a private tour lead by the owner who speaks English.
There is a unique street Kabuki Festival (Yamaage Festival) celebrated in Nasu-Karasuyama city each year in July as well as many other things to see and do.
Nasu-Karasuyama has a few specialities. One is Nasukarasoba (なすからそば) local soba noodles. Another is Kamameshi (かまめし). And last but not least is Ayu Fish (鮎). Most Japanese restaurants can be found in the city center near the station.
Nasu-Karasuyama has a variety of western style restaurants from Family restaurants (budget restaurants) to very popular steakhouse called ‘Clover’.
Ayu fish (鮎) is a freshwater fish enjoyed as a delicacy, particularly during the summer months when they are in season. Nasu-Karasuyama is one of the top locations in Japan for ‘Ayu’. After being caught, the fish are typically grilled and served with salt.
There are not many Western style hotels in Nasu-Karasuyama, but one hotel that guest stay at is Karasuyamajo Country Club Hotel (map) which is located on a beautiful golf course 15 min drive from the city center.
There are several Airbnbs.
Find the full list of airbnb’s available at aribnb here.